Class of 2020 from left to right: (faculty on the top row)
Mena Mirhom’s passion for community psychiatry began long before he knew how to label it. Growing up in New York allowed him to get a glimpse of the impact of mental illness on the lives of individuals and low resource communities. While completing his bachelor’s of science, he spent much of his free time volunteering in Rikers Island Jail and NYC shelters. This was where he first began to learn to truly listen. These experiences challenged his understanding of the true meaning of healthcare, poverty, and justice. This led him to work with close friends to start a non-profit organization that recruited young people to volunteer with the sick, poor and elderly around them. In medical school, Dr. Mirhom was able to join international mental health care efforts in Zambia, Kenya, Nigeria, and Egypt. This inspired an interest in the mental healthcare needs of migrant populations leading Dr. Mirhom to partner with his church to start a free mental health center in New Jersey. He continues to provide frequent mental health trainings to churches across the US and Canada to reduce stigma and increase access to mental health care. He was eager to begin psychiatry residency in the south Bronx, serving a largely underserved population. The opportunities and challenges he faced serving that population is the reason he chose to use his last year of training to complete the Public Psychiatry Fellowship at Columbia University. Currently, Dr. Mirhom is working in integrated behavioral health in BronxCare, across a network of eleven primary care clinics. He also serves on the executive council of the APA’s NYC district branch (NYCPS), district branch representative to the APA assembly, and is the co-chair of the branch’s community service committee called “Psychiatrists for Community Empowerment.” (P4CE). When he’s not working, he enjoys the NYC standup comedy circuit, watching the Knicks lose regularly and date nights with his lovely wife.
Angela Coombs-received her B.A in Neuroscience at Amherst College and her M.D with research honors from Tufts University School of Medicine where her research focused on increasing the representation of Black gender and sexual minorities in an ongoing HIV vaccine trial. She completed her adult psychiatry residency at Columbia University Medical Center where she served as a chief resident and co-developed a curriculum on mental health disparities. In addition to her interests in addressing health disparities facing minority communities, she is interested in using psychoanalytic theories to understand intergenerational transmission of trauma and how individuals learn to navigate structural inequalities. During residency she served as an APA SAMHSA Fellow, assessing the barriers to psychiatric care among Black American church-goers. Passionate about both education and providing recovery-oriented care, she is an Instructor in Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia and works at a recovery-oriented mental health clinic serving individuals experiencing their first episode of psychosis. Additionally, she provides emergency psychiatric care at New York Presbyterian-Columbia and maintains a private practice providing psychotherapy and medication management in Manhattan. In her spare time, she enjoys experiencing the diverse art, music and food across New York City with her family and friends.
Adjoa Smalls-Mantey- completed her M.D. at Columbia University and earned a D.Phil. in Pathology at the University of Oxford where she researched the innate immune effector cell response against HIV. She then completed her residency training in general psychiatry at Mount Sinai Hospital where she served as chief resident. Other positions she holds, within the New York County Psychiatric Society, are Secretary and Chair of the Minority Affairs Committee. Dr. Smalls-Mantey’s clinical interests include emergency psychiatry, student mental health, wellness, and healthcare policy. Dr. Smalls-Mantey is currently a fellow in Public Psychiatry at Columbia University. She works for the New York State Office of Mental Health, and is an attending psychiatrist at NYP Brooklyn Methodist Hospital.
Rachel Wiedermann- was born and raised in New York City. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University, where she studied English and American Literature and Language. She completed medical school at the State University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. She returned to New York for residency in Psychiatry at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital, where she was a Chief Resident. While in residency, she spent a portion of her time working with and teaching mental health clinicians in Liberia as part of the Global Mental Health Track. She is currently a Public Psychiatry Fellow at Columbia University, and is working at Janian Medical Care on the Center for Urban Community Services (CUCS) Intensive Mobile Treatment team, a pilot multidisciplinary outreach program. In this position, she works to provide an innovative, flexible, and person-centered treatment for persons with complex involvement across criminal justice, shelter and mental health systems who have been poorly served by more traditional models. Dr. Wiedermann was drawn to Psychiatry as a field that strives to understand individuals on a holistic and more nuanced level rather than purely in terms of illness, and she feels strongly about working in partnership with patients to develop mutual goals. Her professional interests include outreach, trauma-informed care, LGBTQ wellness, psychodynamic psychotherapy, and cultural psychiatry. When not at work, Dr. Wiedermann enjoys traveling, adventurous eating, hiking, reading modernist fiction, and spending time with her family and her cat, Molly.
Faisal Khan- was born and raised in California where he received a Bachelor of Science in neurobiology, physiology, and behavior at the University of California, Davis. He completed medical school at St. George’s University and his residency at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. He has combined training in general pediatric medicine, adult psychiatry, as well as child and adolescent psychiatry. He enjoys providing compassionate, recovery-oriented care to young people using a holistic approach to the medical and mental health needs of the individual. Currently he is a public psychiatry fellow at Columbia University and a staff physician at The Door, Center of Alternatives, where he is part of an integrative team providing comprehensive youth development services in a diverse and caring environment. When Dr. Khan isn’t at work, he loves spending time with his wife and their dog, traveling, and all things basketball.
Alan Rodriguez Penney- grew up in a bi-cultural environment and has lived most of his life in Puerto Rico. He became fascinated with the human mind while in college and decided to pursue a career in mental health. He completed medical school at the University of Puerto Rico where, in his first year, he began to work with people experiencing homelessness. Alan completed residency training in general psychiatry at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center where he served as Chief Resident. While in residency, Alan was awarded the APA’s SAMHSA Minority Fellowship and used the funding to do work in Puerto Rico through a group called Crear con Salud, a non- profit organization that seeks to improve mental health awareness on the island and played a part in the disaster response after Hurricane María. Alan is currently completing a fellowship in Public Psychiatry at Columbia University where he continues to focus his career towards serving vulnerable populations. Through the fellowship, he works with Janian Medical Care, a non-profit organization serving homeless people in New York City. Alan remains ever fascinated with the human mind and frontiers in mental health such as the growing field of psychedelic research. In his spare time, he trains in martial arts and is currently a second-degree black belt. Alan lives with his partner and his Golden Retriever, and enjoys dancing, traveling, and free food.
Nubia Chong- is a physician advocate who was initially drawn to medicine through her commitment to health equity for underserved communities. She completed a Bachelor of Science degree at The University of California in Sand Diego, her medical degree at SUNY Downstate College of Medicine, and her adult psychiatry residency at Harbor UCLA Medical Center. While in residency, she received funding through the APA APAF/SAMHSA Minority Fellowship to work with individuals seeking asylum. In order to do this work, she dedicated a year of elective time to develop skills in trauma-informed care and completed multiple trainings in Forensic Psychiatric Evaluation. As a chief resident, she focused her efforts on transforming the residency recruitment process to be more holistic while advocating for greater diversity in the residency program. Throughout her training, she realized that medical education did not provide a framework or tools to address health disparities for communities at the intersection of racial justice, gender equity, and socioeconomic inequality. For this reason, she is excited to be a part of the Public Psychiatry Fellowship at Columbia. As a fellow, she is working for Project Renewal Inc., a non-profit organization that provides services for people experiencing homelessness in NYC. She splits her time between an integrated care FQHC embedded in a woman’s shelter and an outpatient substance use rehabilitation program embedded within a men’s shelter. Outside of work, she can be found planning her next escape into nature, winding down at yoga, or participating in various community events that foster healing through the shared experience of poetry, art and food.
Elena Yanchar- is dually trained in Family Medicine and Psychiatry. Her journey into medicine was sparked while working for the NYC American Red Cross Disaster Services, where she was deployed to Mississippi and Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina to assist with relief efforts. She completed her Osteopathic Medical Training at A.T. Still University, with much of her training focused in rural and underserved areas throughout the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. She completed her dual residency at UC San Diego in California, where she served as Chief Resident. Her primary training site was Father Joe’s Villages, a Federally Qualified Health Center embedded in one of the largest homeless shelters on the west Coast. She left the west coast to join the Public Psychiatry fellowship at Columbia University, where she is working on a collaboration between Montefiore Medical Center and Care for the Homeless. She is tasked with opening an all-access clinic for homeless individuals in the Bronx where she will be practicing both Psychiatry and Family Medicine. She also serves as adjunct professor in the Departments of Family Medicine and Psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center. Dr. Yanchar is passionate about bringing comprehensive care to underserved populations. She believes everyone deserves a chance to tell their story, and a chance to be well. Dr. Yanchar also has a great interest in integrative medicine modalities. Prior to medical school, she obtained a Master's Degree in Physiology and Complementary and Alternative Medicine from Georgetown University. She continues to practice Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine, and is currently working towards becoming a certified Functional Medicine Practitioner. When not at work she enjoys adventures in the mountains with her dog, gardening, cooking, is an avid yoga practitioner, and a devoted Cleveland sports fan.
Myriane Isidore- was born and raised in New York and received her Bachelor of Science at Pennsylvania State University. She received her medical doctorate degree from Ross University School of Medicine, where she was involved in community outreach Health Fairs. During her residency training at Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center she was involved in numerous scholarly activities and won 2nd place at the New York State Psychiatric Association 2019 RFM Scholarly Poster Contest as well as 2nd place at Brooklyn Psychiatric Society Resident Research Oral Competition in 2019. As Chief Resident, she was recognized for her problem solving skills and awarded the Psychiatry Clerkship: Chief Resident Appreciation Award. Dr. Isidore is currently completing her Public Psychiatry Fellowship at Columbia University where her site placement is at Bronx Psychiatric Center’s Assertive Community Treatment Team. In her current position she enjoys finding creative solutions to challenging problems. In her spare time, she appreciates spending time with her family and friends, traveling and building on her business ventures.
Jessica Spellun- born and raised in Rhode Island, is an avid reader, and loves to travel. She completed a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Literature at New York University before moving to Isreal where she earned her medical degree from the Sackler School of Medicine- New York State/American Program of Tel Aviv University. After medical school, she returned to New York for residency training in psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital- Weill Cornell Medicine. Currently, she serves as Mental Health Director of the Weill Cornell Medicine Wellness Qlinic, a free mental health clinic for LGBTQ identifying people led by medical students and trainees in psychiatry. In this position, she prioritizes the individual narratives and strengths of her patients while empowering psychiatrists in training to do the same. Her dedication to working with underserved populations has led her to join the Public Psychiatry Fellowship at Columbia University through which she works as an attending in the Weill Cornell Medicine Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP). Outside of work, Dr. Spellun enjoys attending cultural events in New York City, learning to cook new recipes, and spending time with her family and their dog.
Peter Steen*- Writing/ Publishing module and supervision, *=2nd year fellow, not in the picture